Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.

For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people:

but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee.

And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

Isaiah 60:1-3 KJV

We light this candle as a symbol of Christ our Hope.

May the light sent from God shine in the darkness to show us the way of salvation.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

On this first Sunday of Advent was light the candle of HOPE. We find ourselves desperately in need of hope after two years of total upheaval of what we think is “normal.” We are in a dark place. We are fighting a virus that is here to stay if we are to believe the scientists, ever evolving and affecting our lives. We are experiencing economic trauma with costs rising every day. There is political unrest in our country with a divided people and no compromise in view. The heavily populated east and west coast areas believe the country should go in one direction, while the more rural areas of the country believe just as strongly that the country is headed in the wrong direction. Our southern border is wide open and our citizens find themselves under attack with no one in authority acting to bring them relief. Russia is attacking Ukraine, China is threatening Taiwan, North Korea is testing nuclear missiles, and the tensions build. These are added to the everyday frustrations real people face in their real everyday lives – a flat tire on the car, the washing machine breaks, a sick child, a broken relationship, and the list goes on. Life’s pressures keep building.

What are we to do?

Who are you depending on?

If I didn’t believe in a loving God who cares about every detail of my life I would be in despair.

God sent His Son, Jesus, to die on a cross, so that the relationship that was broken by sin could be restored. Jesus died, the debt was paid, and everyone who accepts his payment is saved.

This season of Advent reminds me that God saw a world in darkness and sent His Light.

In the beginning was the Word,

and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God.

The same was in the beginning with God.

All things were made by Him:

and without Him was not anything made that was made.

In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.

(John 1:1-4)

Jesus died on a cross, but He did not remain in the grave. He lives!

And Advent reminds me of His promised return.

And after He had said these things.

He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.

And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going,

behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them.

They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky?

This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven,

will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.

Acts 1:9-11

Behold, He cometh with clouds;

and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him:

and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him.

Even so, Amen.

Revelation 1:7

For the LORD Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout,

with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:

and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds,

to meet the Lord in the air:

and so shall we ever be with the LORD.

I Thessalonians 4:16-17

Jesus said we would live in a word with trouble. The final battle has not yet been fought. But while we live in a world broken by sin we are not without hope for God sent us His Holy Spirit to guide us, to encourage us, to empower us, and to keep us.

Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me.

(John 14:1)

Peace I leave with you,

my peace I give unto you:

not as the world giveth,

give I unto you.

Let not your heart be troubled,

neither let it be afraid.

(John 14:27)

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.

In the world ye shall have tribulation:

but be of good cheer;

I have overcome the world.

(John 16:33)

And so, as we light the candle of HOPE this day

 we stand in the light of God’s love

trusting in the promise of Christ’s return

to take us to live with Him in heaven for eternity.

The marketplace is empty

No more traffic in the streets

All the builders’ tools are silent

No more time to harvest wheat

Busy housewives cease their labors

In the courtroom no debate

Work on earth is all suspended

As the King comes thro’ the gate

Happy faces line the hallways

Those whose lives have been redeemed

Broken homes that He has mended

Those from prison He has freed

Little children and the aged

Hand in hand stand all aglow

Who were crippled, broken, ruined

Clad in garments white as snow

I can hear the chariots rumble

I can see them marching throng

The flurry of God’s trumpets

Spells the end of sin and wrong

Regal robes are now unfolding

Heaven’s grandstand’s all in place

Heaven’s choir now assembled

Start to sing “Amazing Grace”

O the King is coming

The King is coming

I just heard the trumpets sounding

And now His face I see

O the King is coming

The King is coming

Praise God, He’s coming for me

On this first Sunday of Advent I invite you to listen to this song by the Gaither’s and to reflect on God’s gift of a Savior, Jesus Christ. His coming as a baby in a manger gave hope to a lost world and His coming again as King of Kings and Lord of Lords will set right what sin attempted to destroy.


Be careful for nothing;
 but in everything by prayer and supplication 
with thanksgiving 
let your requests be made known unto God. 
And the peace of God, 
which passeth all understanding, 
shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 
Finally, brethren,
 whatsoever things are true, 
whatsoever things are just, 
whatsoever things are pure, 
whatsoever things are lovely, 
whatsoever things are of good report; 
if there be any virtue, 
and if there be any praise, 
think on these things.
Philippians 4:6-8 KJV

It has been almost two years since we sold the home farm in Missouri and returned to Delaware in the midst of a pandemic that turned our lives upside down and inside out. We originally thought we would only stay with our family for six months, a year at the most. Little did we know that it would take us eighteen months to obtain the necessary permits. Thanks to the wonderful folks at H & H Builders we now have a fully closed in house. It is now up to us to complete the inside.

If nothing else, these past two years have taught me that God is in control. Not only is God in control but I can trust Him absolutely. My morning Bible meditation reminded me of this as I read through the devotionals that I am using this year.

Beginning with Experiencing God Day By Day by Henry T. Blackaby & Richard Blackaby

God will not necessarily take your problems away, but He will carry the load for you. He wants you to experience His peace, which is beyond human comprehension. You will never fully understand how God could give you peace in some of the situations you face, but you do not have to understand it in order to experience it. This peace is not just for those who “handle stress well”; it is for everyone! You may know that God wants you to experience peace but wonder how this is possible, given what you are presently facing. Yet, Scripture says to be anxious for nothing. God’s Word clearly indicates that there is nothing you can face that is too difficult, too troubling, or too fearful for God. No matter what your circumstances are, turn your anxiety over to God and let His perfect peace guard your heart.

Followed by the devotion in Streams In The Desert –

Lo, I am with you all the appointed days.

Matthew 28:20

Do not look forward to the changes and chances of this life in fear. Rather look at them with full hope that, as they arise, God, whose you are, will deliver you out of them. He has kept you hitherto; do you but hold fast to His dear hand, and He will lead you safely through all things; and when you cannot stand, He will bear you in His arms. Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow. The same everlasting Father who caress for you today will take care of you tomorrow, and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations. –Francis de Sales.

In some ways returning to Delaware has been more difficult than our move to Missouri. When we journeyed west I had no set expectations. I was fully depending on God to get us where He wanted us. And He did just that. He gave us seven wonderful years. He surrounded us with new friends. He kept us in His care. Then He returned us to Delaware, where I had lots of expectations. But my plan was not His plan. These past two years reminded me that God’s plan is better than my plan. The difficult days taught me that nothing is too difficult for God. I may not understand what God is doing but I trust Him to do what is best for me. And I can thank Him for each day He gives me, even the difficult and painful ones because He is always with me. Nothing touches me that doesn’t go through Him first. So He either sent it or He allowed it for HIS purpose.

Praise God!

A New Day

Thank You Lord for this new day.

It has been 24 hours. In some ways I was prepared for this day but I found myself unprepared in some others. After several sleep-deprived nights I thought that last night I would sleep from sheer exhaustion. Instead, I found myself awakened with severe muscle spasms several times. Then in the early morning my thoughts kept coming and I knew it was You, God, calling me to come to You, to talk to You, offering me comfort. And so I write.

We talk about strong-willed children. She was a strong-willed woman. That can make for difficult relationships at times. But there were several occasions in these past two months when with her strong will she made her weak, tired body accomplish tasks that it should not have been physically able to do.

Until one day she could not. No matter how much she wanted it to, her body simply could not obey her demands on it. She was not understanding. She considered that to be an act of disobedience. And didn’t hesitate to let the rest of us know how displeased she was at the situation.

The night before last she was determined to make her body obey her wishes. She insisted that she wanted to get up out of that bed. I explained to her that her legs just could not hold her up any longer. They had served her for 93 years and they were tired. From that moment on, no position suited her. She was  angry at her body but since her body wouldn’t listen to her then we would. And from eight o’clock in the evening until three o’clock the next morning we did. She finally fell asleep exhausted from all that effort and slept most of the day. A niece came to visit and she seemed aware but didn’t speak. Her caregiver got her ready and she settled in for the night. I sat with her, played her Christmas music, and a little after midnight I went to bed.

I got up to check on her in the early morning hours and thought how good it was that she was finally resting. She was. At times her breathing was so shallow and other times there would be what seemed to me these long pauses between breaths and I would wait thinking is it time? But then there would be a rise in her chest and I would know – not yet. But that morning she looked so peaceful and when I touched her she was warm. As I waited the chest did not rise and I knew.

There were phone calls to be made. The hospice nurse came the and made it official. My daughter-in-law came and then a brother and sister-in-law. More phone calls were made, and another brother posted to her social-media page, so the family and friends heard of her passing.

I found myself at odd moments throughout the day thinking she was calling. Someone would move in another room and my head would turn, was she needing something? Then I would remember. I thought that I was weird until my daughter-in-law mentioned that she had experienced the same thing.

After the others had left we worked around the apartment, clearing out the minutia collected over a lifetime. People accumulate the strangest things.

For her it was greeting cards, small tape dispensers, nail clippers, postage stamps, small change, rubber bands, packets from restaurants (sugar, artificial sweeteners, salt, pepper, and even a few butter tubs).

These were tucked in the desk, in kitchen cabinets, and closets – kitchen, living room, pantry, office, bedroom, bathroom. No room was without some of these things.

There is more to be done, but right now I am thanking You, Lord, for the parents that You gave me, for the family that You set me in, and for leading me on an this exciting adventure we call “Life,” I know that You will continue to lead me through these next days, for You promised that You would never leave me. Thank You, Lord.

Till The Storm Passes By

Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more

Till the clouds roll forever from the sky

Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand

Keep me safe till the storm passes by

Thomas Mosie Lister

Lord, the storms are raging around us.

Literal storms during this hurricane season.

The storm of the war in Afghanistan.

Natural disasters as the earthquake in Haiti.

The increase in COVID cases

– to vaccinate or not vaccinate

– to wear a mask or not wear a mask

– to restrict activities or to open up again.

The storm of political unrest with many no longer trusting in our government.

The storm of disbelief, even in the church, where there are those who have forsaken Your Word – the BIBLE.

Yes, we are in a storm and it is raging all around us but You are still GOD and You are still with us.

We are not alone.

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.

In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

Thank You God, for sending Your Son, Jesus to redeem this fallen world.

I pray for those who face persecution for their faith in Christ.

Give them the strength to endure.

I pray for the lost who do know the Lord Jesus Christ.

May they hear the gospel and believe.

Better the storm with Christ than smooth waters without Him.


Independence Day 2021

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

John 8:32

As we slowly begin to take up our lives again following the past year of shut-downs, masks, and social distancing have we learned anything from our experiences this past year?

Are you still attempting to “do it your way” or have you realized that God is in control and that God wants the very best for you?

God is in control. If you truly believe that then you must trust that He is working out His plan for your life.

Even if you cannot understand what is going on right now, can you trust that God knows what is going on and that God has you exactly where He wants you to be?

Of course this only applies if you are listening to what God is telling you and you are allowing Him to lead you in the way He wants you to go. Then you can trust that you are where He wants you, even if it isn’t where you would have chosen to be.

If you are keeping your focus on God, if you are reading your Bible, meditating on His Word, spending time in prayer, listening for the whisper of the Holy Spirit and obeying what He tells you – THEN you can trust.

But don’t expect an easy road because God doesn’t promise easy, He only promises that the struggles will be worth it.

That is the law of life. What comes easily goes easily. The things we struggle for we value and appreciate. The rewards of life come not to those who have their hands out, but to those who are willing to sacrifice in order to gain their objective. There is much talk about giving people freedom, and people asking to be made free. The simple fact is that freedom cannot be given. It is something for which every race and nation has to struggle. It is not something which can be bequeathed, but something which is attained. One can no more give people freedom than one can give character.

From the commentary on Joshua 17:15 – The Interpreter’s Bible –

What will this year bring? I don’t know.

I do know that God has a plan for my life and that He has a plan for your life also.

Whose plan are you going to follow?

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Joshua 24:15

What road will you take?

Morning Has Come!

They all walked away, nothing to say

They’d just lost their dearest friend

All that He said, now He was dead

So this was the way it would end

The dreams they had dreamed were not what they’d seemed

Now that He was dead and gone

The garden, the jail, the hammer, the nail

How could a night be so long?

Then came the morning

Night turned into day

The stone was rolled away

Hope rose with the dawn

Then came the morning

Shadows vanished before the sun

Death had lost and life had won

For morning had come

The angel, the star, the kings from afar

The wedding, the water, the wine

Now it was done, they’d taken her Son

Wasted before His time

She knew it was true, she’d watched Him die too

She’d heard them call Him just a man

But deep in her heart she knew from the start

Somehow her Son would live again

Then came the morning

Night turned into day

The stone was rolled away

Hope rose with the dawn

Then came the morning

Shadows vanished before the sun

Death had lost and life had won

For morning had come

I love to watch each new day dawn. On the farm in Missouri I would sit on the front porch as the sky began to lighten, knowing that it was already shining on my family on the east coast. The shadows would flee as the sun came over the horizon until it finally rose above the trees across the pasture.

Light will always banish the darkness, even on a cloudy day. With every sunrise I am reminded of God’s faithful presence, every day. I may not see Him or even sense His presence but I KNOW that He is with me every moment of every day, Just as I know the sun is shining in the sky above the clouds.

This song written by Chris Christian, Gloria Gaither, and William Gaither is Easter to me.


Easter Vigil

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”

“Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting seal on the stone and posting the guard.

Matthew 27:62-66

What a Sabbath day that must have been for the disciples of Jesus.

Shock and dismay over the execution of the one they had followed for three years.

Fear over what the future held for them.

Did they dare to go to the temple to worship?

Or did they remain in sequestered in that upper room, waiting for a knock on the door from the authorities, seeking to arrest all of them?

Even though Jesus had told them that He would be killed, they were not prepared.

It was the darkest of days for them – BUT – Sunday was coming!

Good Friday

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It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea and he was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.

The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home nd prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.

Luke 23:44-56

Oh, the pain of this day for those who loved the Lord.

Even though He had told them what was coming, they didn’t understand even when they saw the cross and heard the sound of the nails being pounded into his body.

The one who called Lazarus from the tomb was now himself – being laid lifeless in a tomb.

They were in shock, unable to penetrate the darkness of grief which enveloped them.

But the story wasn’t over . . . .

Maundy Thursday

When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”

After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to that man who betrays him.” They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.

Luke 22:14-23

When I come to the Communion table and hear those words from my Lord:

This is my body given for you.

This is my blood of the new covenant, poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Do this in remembrance of me.

I think of Oswald Chambers teaching that God wants us as broken bread and poured-out wine.

The following is from My Utmost For His Highest, the reading for September 30th:

We make calls out of our own spiritual consecration, but when we get right with God He brushes all these aside, and rivets us with a pain that is terrific to one thing we never dreamed of, and for one radiant flashing moment we see what He is after, and we say – “Here am I, send me.”

This call has nothing to do with personal sanctification, but with being made broken bread and poured-out wine. God can never make us wine if we object to the fingers He uses to crush us with. If God would only use His own fingers, and make me broken bread and poured-out wine in a special way! But when He uses someone whom we dislike, or some set of circumstances to which we said we would never submit, and makes those the crushers, we object. We must never choose the scene of our own martyrdom. If ever we are going to be made into wine, we will have to be crushed; you cannot drink grapes. Grapes become wine only when they have been squeezed.

I wonder what kind of finger and thumb God has been using to squeeze you, and you have been like a marble and escaped? You are not ripe yet, and if God had squeezed you, the wine would have been remarkably bitter. To be a sacramental personality means that the elements of the natural life are presenced by God as they are broken providentially in His service. We have to be adjusted into God before we can be broken bread in His hands. Keep right with God and let Him do what He likes, and you will find that He is producing the kind of bread and wine that will benefit His other children.

Do you sometimes feel like the sheaf of wheat under the flail – being beaten until the grain falls out?

Or maybe you are the grape being crushed until the juice flows.

Take heart God is preparing you for service in His kingdom!

Wednesday of Holy Week

Now the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some sly way to arrest Jesus and kill him. “But not during the Feast,” they said, “or the people may riot.”

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could, She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.

Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

Mark 14:1-11

The room grew still

As she made her way to Jesus

She stumbled through the tears

That make her blind

She felt such pain

Some spoke in anger

Heard folks whisper

There’s no place for her kind

Still on she came

Through the shame that flushed her face

Until at last she knelt before his feet

And though she spoke no words

Everything she said was heard

As she poured her love for the Master

Form her box of alabaster

And I’ve come to pour

My praise on Him like oil

From Mary’s Alabaster Box

Don’t be angry if I wash His feet with my tears

And I dry them with my hair

You weren’t there the night He found me

You did not feel what I felt

When He wrapped His loving arms around me

And you don’t know the cost

Of the oil in my Alabaster Box

I can’t forget the way life used to be

I was a prisoner to the sin that had me bound

And I spent my days

Poured my life without measure

Into a little treasure box

I thought I found

Until the day when Jesus came to me

And healed my soul with the wonder of His touch

So now I’m giving back to Him

All the praise He’s worthy of

I’ve been forgiven and that’s why

I love Him so much

And I’ve come to pour

My praise on Him like oil

From Mary’s Alabaster Box

Don’t be angry if I wash His feet with my tears

And I dry them with my hair

You weren’t there the night He found me

You did not feel what I felt

When He wrapped His loving arms around me

And you don’t know the cost

Of the oil in my Alabaster Box

Written by Janice Sjostran